Renewable energy is growing! With the advent of more affordable technology and increased political pressure on clean sources of energy, it’s no surprise to learn that renewable energy is on the rise on a global scale. A new report projects that, by the year 2020, some 26 percent of the world’s energy will come from renewable sources. Considering that just a few decades ago, there was very little renewable energy in play, this will be a landmark achievement when the time comes. Powering over one-quarter of the Earth with renewable energy sources demonstrates a rate of growth unprecedented in other energy industries, and inspires a lot of hope for the decades to come. This news is, in very technical terms, incredibly darn awesome.
The prediction comes from the Paris-based International Energy Agency (IEA), which isn’t just a bunch of treehuggers wearing rose-colored glasses. The agency, which began in the wake of the 1973 oil crisis, has been offering governments nonpartisan information on global energy issues for over 40 years. A well-respected and reliable source, the IEA is also considered to be relatively conservative.
The agency’s forecast is based on the assumption that the world will add 700 gigawatts (a billion watts) worth of renewable energy capacity over the next five years. That notion comes from looking at previous rates of capacity growth and charting future expectations. In other words, IEA notes, “By 2020, the amount of global electricity generation coming from renewable energy will be higher than today’s combined electricity demand of China, India and Brazil.”
Today, around 22 percent of the world’s energy comes from renewable sources – mostly solar, wind, and hydro. With an increase of roughly one percent a year from now until the end of the decade, we’ll break the one-quarter mark, adding enough clean energy to power the entire nation of Japan twice over.
Images via Lollie-Pop/Flickr and IEA